NEW DELHI: Betting big on Uttar Pradesh for the party’s national revival, Congress managers are now working hard to ensure a massive 5 lakh vote victory margin for Rahul Gandhi in his parliamentary constituency Amethi.
Rahul marked his electoral debut by winning the Amethi parliamentary seat in 2004, defeating BSP nominee CP Mishra by a margin of 2.9 lakh votes. The victory margin went up to 3.7 lakh votes in 2009 when he defeated BSP candidate Asheeh Shukla. However, his winning margin dropped to just over a lakh in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when he got the better of BJP nominee Smriti Irani, worrying party mandarins.
With the the long-desired foray of Priyanka Gandhi as the party in-charge of eastern UP in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls and an internal assessment suggesting that the voters could be favourably disposed towards the grand old party this time around, electoral strategists have set sights on a healthy margin of victory for Rahul in Amethi where he is likely to be projected as a potential prime ministerial candidate.
Since 1999, Priyanka has managed the two family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli and her vote catching skills will be put to the test yet again. This LS polls will also mark the first time Rahul will campaign as the Congress president. Though a proverbial outsider, Irani gave Rahul a close fight in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and bagged 3 lakh votes against the latter’s tally of 4.08 lakh votes.
As the party managers plan a statewide campaign, the focus is yet again on Amethi and Rae Bareli, the only two seats won by the Congress in 2014.
“While some other people will come here to stay in the news and save their deposits, we have to take the victory margin to over 5 lakh,” Deepak Singh, a member of UP legislative council, said.